LMS boys cap perfect regular season with 2nd place tournament finish

In front of a full house, the Laconia Middle School boy's A team hosted counterparts from Merrimack Valley in the final regular season game. At stake for the young Sachems was an undefeated season. The boys from Laconia would not disappoint. Coming off the bench to lead his team was "Smilin'" Dan Engelson with 10 points, 5 boards and 5 steals. Ryan Paiva droped 9 points, while Logan Bell had 7 pts, 6 boards and 6 steals and Drew Muzzey added 7pts and 7 boards. The team received a standing ovation as the whistle sounded on the game and the Sachems gave their head coach Rod Roy his first undefeated season with a convincing 50-21 win. Coach Roy said after the game, "This is a special group of kids. I have coached most of them since they were 7 years old and there is a lot of talent in this group. The future of basketball in Laconia looks very good. I couldn't be more proud of them." The Sachems finish the regular season at 17-0 as they headed into their tournament season.
Going into the Newfound tournament as the number 1 seed, the expectations for the Sachems were high. Laconia drew the middle school team from Hopkinton in the first round and weren't quite sure what to expect. It was a team that they had not faced in the regular season. After an extremely sluggish start, the offense found their groove and started to pour it on. Drew Muzzey led the 2nd half charge with 14 pts and 7 boards, while Logan Bell added 10 pts and Jack Maher dropped 8. Point Guard Christian Gaspa dished off 5 assist while pulling down 4 big boards and notching 4 steals. Riley Roy also had 4 boards while grabbing 3 steals of his own. With a strong second half effort the Sachems were able to capture a 46-11 win.
Next up was a strong, fast Kearsarge team. Also a team that the Sachems did not see in the regular season. This one was a dog fight. Seeing that they were getting nothing inside against Kearsarge's Dwight Howard-like center, the boys from Laconia took to the perimeter. It was small forward Riley Roy who led his team with 7 points, including two 3-pointers. Noah Cruz, Muzzey, and Bell each had 6 while Muzzey had 6 boards and Bell 7. Christian Gaspa had 5 assists which gave him over 100 assist on the season. On the defensive side 8 of the 12 Sachems had at least one steal with Gaspa leading the way with 3. Bell and Ryan McCrea had 2 each. When it was over the Sachems were able to hang on to a very narrow 29-27 victory. The win punched their ticket to the championship where, once again, they squared off against Kearsarge. Due to time constraints, the championship was single elimination (it was a double elimination tournament). The two teams picked up right where they left off, trading baskets and defensive stops, to the delight of the packed house. Laconia center Logan Bell was able to muscle in 10 points while grabbing 8 boards, Drew Muzzey had 7 points to go with 7 boards, while Jack Maher grabbed 5 boards. Defensively the Sachems played well again with Bell grabbing 3 steals and Gaspa, Engelson, and Muzzey nabbing 2 apiece. Unfortunately the Sachems struggled at the charity stripe leaving 14 foul shots at the line. It was a fast paced, physical game but in the end it was Kearsarge who was able to hang on for the 34-30 win. "It was a great game against a very, very good team. Our boys played hard and have nothing to hang their heads about. Both teams are in the Bow tourney in couple of weeks so hopefully we'll get the rubber match in." said coach Rod Roy. Laconia's Drew Muzzey was named to the All Tourney team.

White Mountain rides 1st quarter burst to win over Gilford

White Mountain went on an 8-0 run to end the first quarter with an 18-9 lead and never looked back in defeating Gilford 50-33 on Friday night. The Eagles played the Spartans nearly even in the second quarter and trailed at the break 26-17. Gilford came out in the third quarter and scored the first two baskets to cut the lead to 26-21 but would get no closer as they dropped to 9-5 on the season. For Gilford, Maddie Harris lead all scorers with 11 points followed by Kayla Orton who scored 8 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Jordan Dean added 7 points for the Eagles who are back in action on Tuesday against Farmington.

LMS girls top Moultonborough in tournament final

It was a victorious weekend for the Laconia Middle School girls' A basketball team, as they won all four of their games and improved their season record to 21 wins and 4 losses. The weekend culminated with the Lady Sachems winning the Lakes Region Invitational Basketball Tournament for the second consecutive year, held Saturday and Sunday at Winnisquam High School.

The fun started on Friday at the Middle School, as Laconia avenged two previous losses to Merrimack Valley by defeating them 36 to 31. Amelia Clairmont led the victors with 20 points (including a pair of 3 pointers). She also had six steals and eight rebounds. Delia Cormier had 8 points and Bella Smith 5 points. The win by Laconia was Merrimack Valley's only loss of the year.

The contest was very tight through the first three quarters as Merrimack Valley lead 17 to 15 at the half and 29 to 26 after three quarters. Laconia then proceeded to outscore their opponents 10 to 2 in the final quarter to spur the victory.

Hannah Dow came off the bench in the fourth quarter and scored a fast break layup and also caused four key turnovers that were all converted into Laconia field goals.

On Saturday's first round game of the Lakes Region Invitational in Tilton, Laconia beat Franklin by a score of 36 to 31. Leading scorers were Amelia Clairmont and Bella Smith each with 10 points, Delia Cormier and Emma Schumacher had 4 points. Beka Howe, Victoria Dean, and Delia Cormier contributed with solid defense , as Laconia's pressure on both ends of the floor was instrumental in the victory.

In Sunday's semi-final game, Laconia defeated Gilford 38 to 13. Leading scorers were Amelia Clairmont with 17 points, Bella Smith 13 points, Delia Cormier 4 points, Kenzie Bartlett 2 points, Skyler Tautkus and Delaney Ross each with 1 point. Lindsey Drouin had 10 rebounds, while Smith and Clairmont each had 6 steals for the victors.

In the afternoon final, the Lady Sachems beat Moultonborough by a score of 42 to 23. Clairmont and Smith again were the leading scorers with 13 points and 10 points respectively. Also chipping in for Laconia were Emma Schumacher with 6 points, Delia Cormier 4 points, followed by Lyndsey Drouin, Devon Mello, Beka Howe, and Delaney Ross each with 2 points. Delia Cormier also contributed 9 rebounds along with Clairmont's 7 boards.

Laconia looks to finish their season in strong fashion during the February school vacation in the Bow Invitational in two weeks.

Wolfpack suffers 6-0 defeat in Berlin

The Laconia-Winnisquam Wolfpack traveled to Berlin to face the Mountaineers for a Saturday afternoon match and could not find their offense as they fell 6-0 to the home team.

The Wolfpack had a quiet week due to their Wednesday game being postponed due to weather, and faced a tough Berlin team on Saturday. Throughout the game, the Wolfpack could not mount a sustained attack. Although they had their chances, the Berlin goalkeeper made a number of saves to stifle the Wolfpack attack.